Background: Genetic variations in interleukin 28B (IL28B) have been strongly associated with a sustained virological response (SVR) in European and African-American patients. Genetic variation of IL28B was investigated in healthy controls and chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, and the treatment response in the CHC patients was analyzed according to IL28B polymorphism in the Korean population.
Methods: IL28B polymorphisms (rs12979860 and rs8099917) were studied in 200 healthy controls and in 167 CHC patients who were treated with peginterferon-α and ribavirin.
Results: The prevalence of rs12979860 in healthy controls is as follows: the CC-genotype was 88.5%, the CT-genotype was 11.5%, and the TT-genotype was not found. The prevalence of rs8099917 in healthy controls is as follows: the TT-genotype was 89.5%, the TG-genotype was 10.5%, and the GG-genotype was not found. The CC-genotype of rs12979860 and the TT-genotype of rs8099917 were found to be closely related (linkage disequilibrium; D′=1.0, χ 2=0.9082). In 106 CHC patients treated with peginterferon and ribavirin, the SVR was 67.2% (n=58) for 1b, 91.6% (n=47) for 2a. In hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1b with respect to rs12979860, the SVR in CC-genotype was 72.9% and that in CT-genotype was 40.0%. On investigating predictive factors for SVR, pretreatment low-HCV RNA levels, HCV genotype non-1, early virological response, and also the IL28B CC-genotype for rs12979860 were good indicators of an SVR.
Conclusions: In Korea, genetic variation of IL28B is different from that in western countries in view of high prevalence of rs12979860 CC-genotype. It seems likely that a high SVR in Korean patients with genotype 1 CHC patients is due to the genetic polymorphism in IL28B.